OKLAHOMA CITY – The remains of an AMERICAN soldier from Oklahoma City were sent back to their country of origin almost 70 years after he was captured during the Korean War.
Army Sgt. 1st Class Alfred Bensinger Jr. remains arrived Wednesday in a flag-draped casket at will Rogers World Airport in Oklahoma City.
Burial with military honors will be Friday at Fort Sill National Cemetery in Elgin, about 75 miles (about 120 kilometres south-west of Oklahoma City, according to Bensinger’s son, Gary Clayton of El Reno.
Clayton said that he was 2 years old when his father was sent to Korea and that he has no memory of him, not even a photo of the two together.
“I’m just blown away about what the military had done here to get his remains back and to honor him,” Clayton told The Associated Press.
The Department of Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency — or DPAA — said Bensinger’s remains were among 32 persons found in the vicinity of Unsan, North Korea, in 2005 by a DPAA/Korean People’s Army Recovery Team, and were adopted in July 2017 with the help of DNA.
Clayton, who said that he changed his last name to that of the man his mother later married, said he had little contact with his father’s family, other than his grandfather, and a chance encounter once with a cousin, although his mother told him that Bensinger brother occasionally visited her.
“My uncle, when I was still very young, he did come. She said that just to check and make sure that I was OK … but I don’t know,” said Clayton.
In addition to a brother, who said Clayton died, his father has a sister who, in the ‘ 90s and the DNA that helped identify it. He said that the plans for attending the funeral.
Clayton said his father had no other children, and that his mother died eight years ago.
Bensinger, 25 at the time, was a member of Company D, 2nd Engineer Combat Battalion 2nd Infantry Division, when he was captured on Nov. 30, 1950. The return of the American Prisoners of war later reported that he died in January 1951 at a POW transient camp, according to the DPAA.
About 7,700 military or civilian personnel remain missing from the Korean War, according to the DPAA.
“Worldwide, there are about 83,000 Department of Defense personnel all over the world that have not been processed yet … going back to the second world War,” said spokesman Chuck Prichard.
“We estimate that about 34,000 repaired, Prichard said. “The rest would be, as deep water losses that we don’t have the technology to get it.”
Clayton said he was notified late last summer that his father had been identified, but decided to wait until Feb. 16 for the funeral, because that would have been his 93rd birthday.